Vogt: Burden of German Guilt
textbook by Hannah Vogt, 1964

College Textbooks and the Holocaust, 1952-1968

by Carlos Magaña
June 2004

student research paper for
UCSB History 133P, Spring 2004
(133p research papers index page)

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)

Grant &
Temperley 1952
Ergang 1954
Thomson 1957, 1962
1961, 1978
Albrecht-Carrie 1962
Vogt 1964
Wood 1964
Pilch 1968

Introduction (back to top)

One of the darkest moments in modern history is the bureaucratic genocidal murder of different people during Nazi Germany's attempt at European domination. This period, better known as the Holocaust, has recently been widely studied and debated. For historians and common people alike, it is arduous to comprehend the magnitude of this event in the context of modern history. The Holocaust has left a defining imprint on civilization, but more profoundly on German history. Due to the importance of the Holocaust when discussing Germany, researchers are now looking into how the Holocaust has been interpreted in history textbooks throughout the decades after the World War II.  Researchers like Lucy Dawidowicz have written on this particular issue. While writing her books The War Against the Jews and A Holocaust Reader, she states, "I was dismayed to find how inadequately the murder of the European Jews had been recorded in the history books. I became haunted by the fear that the history of the 6 million murdered Jews would vanish from the earth as they themselves and their civilization had vanished."[1] Textbooks throughout the decades have differed significantly when discussing the Holocaust. The change that most people are interested in comes in the late 1960s; this is when a more in-depth analysis begins to appear in textbooks.

Many argue that the Holocaust was in peoples' minds, but was not written about because it was a hard event to comprehend due to its tragic background. At first most people wanted to distance themselves from such a tragic moment in history. Therefore [what happened here?]not being able to comprehend how the death of six million Jews could assume a bureaucratic hierarchy and not knowing how to go about reporting on it historians, similarly to everyone else, decided instead to remain silent. It was as if no one wanted to discuss the events that had become universally known after World War II. One can almost argue that the emotion attached to the Holocaust first needed to be processed and allowed to settle down. With the passage of time, and as things make more clear historians decided to begin writing on the Holocaust. Substantial reports begin to appear in the late 1960s in textbooks.

Every textbook that is written now concerning European or more specifically German history has chapters devoted exclusively to the Holocaust. The Holocaust is now described as one of the darkest moments in history. This is due to the bureaucratic mass murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany during the Third Reich under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. However, that was not always the case. The focus of this research is to see how textbooks changed over time from those that neglect any discussion on the Holocaust to those that actually mention the Holocaust in German and European history. The main question that I would like to address with this research is how the Holocaust is written in textbooks beginning in the 1950s, and then following chronologically through the 1960s and 70s. This research will analyze the progression of Holocaust as a subject within textbooks.

For the most part, early textbooks do not give the Holocaust its historical place in history. In the 1950s the Holocaust as a subject is not mentioned at all. There are small instances where under the heading of anti-Semitism there are references to the laws passed in Germany in the 1930s that deny certain rights to the Jewish population, while other accounts also include the Nuremburg Laws of 1938. As Holocaust scholar Eva Kolinsky wrote in her 1974 analysis of West German high school textbooks: "In the fifties, the textbooks treated the anti-Jewish measures after 1933 as a secondary topic. Most books devoted only one summary paragraph to the whole problem."[2] These were fragments trying to depict a subject that requires a greater analysis of the events that constitute the Holocaust in order to convey the true meaning and to capture the magnitude of its effects in the history of humanity. "For over two decades some secondary school and college texts never mentioned the subject at all, while others treated it so summarily or vaguely as to fail to convey sufficient information about the events themselves or their historical significance."[3] Both Kolinsky and Dawidowicz argue that the Holocaust was not discussed in textbooks to the degree that such an important event should be discussed and elaborated upon by historians.

The 1950s were a period with little or no mention on the Holocaust. Scholars such as Peter Novick argue that the reason was that most people wanted to distance themselves from a period which they associate with genocidal horror, which in turn evokes a sense of guilt, shame and distraught. Due to these reasons most people wanted to move away from the turbulent chapter in the twentieth century defined by the Holocaust. The distancing from the Holocaust is evident in textbooks from the 1950s. The 1950s texts do not mention the murders or the concentration camps. In essence the gruesome reality of the Holocaust is neglected. The texts in this period seem to focus on the civic lives that Jews were forced to live under the Third Reich. They briefly mention Jewish rights being taken away by decree of Hitler The brevity of the passages indicate that these events were considered secondary topics. Not until the 1960s do the victims of the Holocaust begin to be portrayed in gruesome depictions that we associate with the Holocaust, namely concentration camps such as Auschwitz, and accounts of murder.

A.J. Grant and Harold Temperely, Europe in the 19th and 20th Century, 1952
(back to top)

A.J. Grant and Harold Temperely's book Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, published in 1952, portrays Jewish history under Hitler as of secondary importance. In their book, the Jews are mentioned on four different pages for a total of 4 paragraphs. What is covered in these paragraphs is how Hitler thought of the Jews, and how eventually the Jewish community in Germany lost its rights. Hitler's perspective on the Jews is stated in the book by the following passage, which also states that the belief in the inferiority of the Jewish community:

A study of Mein Kampf how shows that the hatred of the Jews, like the exaltation of the Aryans, was a development of this same principle of superiority. Jews were, to Hitler, 'the lesser breeds without the law.' … It was easy and obvious to make the Jews responsible for the misfortunes of Germany… They were responsible for the 'pollution of our blood' and were a parasite nation."[4]

The book devotes a larger portion of the four paragraphs to describing how the Jews eventually lost their rights. "The Jews, who were the first objects of persecution, proved indeed incapable of resistance in Germany and were speedily expelled, deprived of their rights, or cowed into silence or submission."[5] It further goes on to state:

Both churches, however, stood firm against Nazi attempts to coerce them into approving the new racial theories, as defined in the Nuremburg Laws of September 1935. These decrees deprived Jews of all citizen rights, forbade their marriage with 'Aryans' and virtually excluded them from the official, political and cultural life in Germany.[6]

The only mention of concentration camps is in reference to pastors being sent there: "During the summer, large numbers of Protestant Pastors were arrested and sent to concentration camps."[7] As the protest increased from Catholic and Protestant sects, the situation for the Jews became worse:

Meanwhile, the position of the Jews in Germany had further deteriorated and 1938 saw yet another manifestation of the depths to which the German leaders and their followers had sunk… towards the end of October the first mass expulsion of the Polish Jews was begun. The murder of vom Rath, a member of the German embassy in Paris, by a young Polish Jew, provided the excuse for a barbarous attack on Jews throughout Germany, which shocked the western world.[8]

The book fails to elaborate on why the events of this night were shocking to the Western world. It does not mention that many Jews were murdered or that many more were sent to concentration camps, nor that synagogues were burned. The brutalities of the event are overlooked and therefore fail to convey why the event was shocking to the world. To further exemplify how the Jews were expelled from society, the book states:

The latter were deprived of their whole movable and immovable property, and every economic activity was made impossible for them. The object of these measures, as stated in Das Schwarze Korps, the official newspaper of the S.S., was to impoverish the Jews in order to drive them into the criminal classes, and then 'to extirpate them with fire and sword' as criminals.[9]

Robert Ergang, Europe since Waterloo, 1954 (back to top)

In his book Europe since Waterloo, published in 1954, Robert Ergang primarily focuses on how the Jews were excluded from society in Germany under the Third Reich. Surprisingly there is no mention of Night of Broken Glass, nor any reference to Jews being seen as those who poison the blood of the German nation. There is no mention of atrocities committed against the Jewish population by Nazi Germany. Ergang discusses Nazi Germany beginning on page 532. Under the subheading The Nazi Regime, there is only a paragraph on the Jews during the reign of Hitler. Within the context of this paragraph Ergang states that Jewish rights were limited in 1933 by Hitler and also writes on how the German Jews were excluded from German society:

The Nazis excluded from the administration, the press, the educational system, and the agencies of German cultural life most Jews and persons of Jewish descent…. [I]n 1935 the so called "Nuremburg Laws" deprived all full-blooded Jews, even those of the Christian faith, of the rights of German citizenship, but they did permit persons whose ancestry was 35 to 50 percent Jewish, formerly called "non-Aryans," to become citizens.[10]

The situation of the Jews is not mentioned again, nor are there any accounts of the situation growing increasingly worse for European Jewry.

David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon, 1957, 1962 (back to top)

Similar to the previous authors, David Thomson in his book Europe since Napoleon, published in 1957, does not give a description of the Holocaust. Thomson also focuses primarily on how the Jewish community within Germany lost its rights. Nevertheless there is no mention of atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during WWII. The history of the Jewish community was mentioned in small passages. The small passages in the book seem to fragment Jewish history in Nazi Germany to the point where it lacks a coherent interpretation, giving readers a distorted picture of the situation in which the Jews found themselves after Hitler came to power in 1933. One such segment reads, "Anti-Semitism, not new in Germany, took new and inflamed forms from 1918 onward, stimulated by the immigration of eastern Jews into Germany during the war and by the desire of nationalist to find scapegoats for Germany's ills."[11] Another fragment states: "Hitler expelled Jews and liquated all his political opponents."[12] Thomson does discuss how the Jews were expelled from German society. He states that they were forced out of their jobs. There is a brief mention of the concentration camps. There is no detail on what their purpose was, or any type of description. Thomson stated, "…the ability to crush and keep crushed every form of open criticism or opposition by the use of secret police, concentration camps, and terror."[13] There was no further discussion of the concentration camps, which have come to symbolize the epitome of the Holocaust with names such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

The second edition of Thomson's book was published in 1962. However, no changes were made to the text about the Jews. No revisions were made that could give a better understanding of the Holocaust. The second edition still focuses only on how the Jews were excluded from German social life. The similar fragmentation of information appears in the second edition with segments such as, "…in each country the terrible power of the secret police, striking sometimes openly and in mass, as in the great purges or in the drives against the Jews in Germany, sometimes silently as in the countless isolated arrests of suspects who disappeared to a fate unknown."[14] Kristallnacht was mentioned, but like the earlier books, it does not elaborate on the repercussions that the Jewish community was forced to endure. It does mention the fine that was placed on the community, but there is no discussion of the deaths or imprisonments that took place:

All talk of justice for minorities came ill from a state which, in November, 1938, launched a violent pogrom against its whole Jewish minority, and mulcted it of nearly 83 million as a collective fine for the murder of one German official.[15]

Readers are left to infer that there were crimes committed against the German Jewish community, but there is no evidence provided by the book. The fact that events such as these are not given the proper interpretation can at times make them seem as lacking credibility. Books that do not give events their historical significance degrade the events to a level of secondary importance. In doing so, authors like Thomson seem to neglect an important phase in human history. There is however, more information on how the Jews were seen based on the racial theories that began to circulate within Germany society believed to be supported my science. Thomson states that Hitler wanted to create a German nation that incorporated all Germans. To do so Hitler had to remove all alien elements that prevented the creation of a greater German state. "Nationalism, in Nazi context, meant the union of all Germans within a greater Germany and the expulsion from the integrated Reich of all alien elements, especially Jews."[16] Germans were seen as the master race, destined to rule. Nazi racial doctrine classified numerous races, but always the Jews, being classified as a race, were believed to be the worst. "Hitlerism evolved a complete doctrine of racialism which presented Germans as the 'master race' with a historic destiny to rule the world once it had purged itself of contamination by Jews…"[17] Thomson however fails to elaborate on how the Third Reich used racial theory to depict the Jews as vermin contaminating the German race in most Nazi-sponsored propaganda. A change would however become apparent in most textbooks starting in the 1960s.

The 1960s textbooks begin to include more on what would be known as the Holocaust. Concrete changes are made apparent in 1964 and after with books from Hannah Vogt, Anthony Wood and Judah Pilch. In these textbooks for the first time the bureaucratic mass murder of European Jews begins to be addressed as the Holocaust. Later in the 1960s, we begin to get definite descriptions on the situation of the Jews during World War II. The deaths of Jews begin to appear along with statistical data on the percentages that were exterminated. Eva Kolinsky affirms, "In the sixties the real victims are seen, the atrocities committed are pointed out."[18] The 1960s provide most of the information that scholars now consider to be vital in studying and understanding the magnitude of the effect that the Holocaust has in the context of history in western civilization.

Gordon A. Craig, Europe since 1815, 1961; Germany 1866-1945, 1978 (back to top)

Gordon A. Craig author of Europe since 1815, published in 1961, fails to discuss the Holocaust in any significant detail. He follows the fifties trend, by solely mentioning how the Jews were excluded from German society and the laws that were passed effacing Jewish rights. He also mentions how the Jews were seen as an alien race contaminating the German master race. "They portrayed the Jews as an alien and subversive force and elaborated fantastic theories of race that impressed a public made credulous by the cult of science."[19] Craig states that the Jews were persecuted after 1933, but fails to elaborate on the manner in which they were persecuted. Craig also makes a reference to Nazi concentration camps, but does not provide any substantial information on the function of the camps:

The individual liberty of even the most distinguished citizens was subject to restrictions…humbler persons were apt to suffer from appalling injustice. Foreigners who volunteered for service in the foreign legion during the campaign of France were penned up in concentration camps in Africa and treated with brutality that rivaled that of the Nazi camps in Dachau and Auschwitz.[20]

There is no further reference to the concentration camps. The "brutality" in the camps is to be inferred with no additional evidence. The paragraph lacks any type of factual evidence and therefore fails to get across the point that Jews were sent to concentration camps, on innumerable occasions to be murdered like many other people, including political figures, homosexuals and gypsies. In later books Craig does, however; see the importance of discussing the Holocaust. [It seems to me that a paragraph about GC's introduction to Vogt is missing here. You need to introduce this properly and include a quotation.]

The introduction to the book was written by Gordon A. Craig in which he affirms that it is important to study and teach the Holocaust. Nevertheless, in his previous books, Craig does not focus on the many issues that most people now believe to be the fundamentals in the study of the Holocaust. In his book Europe since 1815. However, in his written introduction for Vogt's book he seemed to criticize those who do not want to remember the Holocaust even though he fails to discuss the Holocaust in any significant detail, "There are countless others who, for various reasons, resist any discussion of things that happened in Hitler's time and would be happy if the whole Nazi period could be swept under a rug and forgotten.[21] Nevertheless, in his 1978 book Germany 1866-1945 there is a considerable change.

In his book Europe since 1815, Craig does not mention Kristallnacht. He does however include a description of that night in his book Germany 1866-1945 with the reasons for the assassination of the German politician by a Polish Jew:

Albert Speer writes of passing through the fasanenstrasse in Berlin on 10 November 1938, on the morning after the dreadful pogroms of Krystallnacht, during which Berlin synagogue was razed to the ground…, over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed, nearly a hundred Jews killed and thousands beaten and intimidated. Speer writes that, although he did not realize it at that time, more had been smashed than glass that night, that Hitler has crossed a Rubicon, that something was beginning that would end with the annihilation of one whole group of our nation.[22]

Other aspects that Craig writes on in his book that were not included in his previous book were the Jewish question, the "final solution," and the extermination of European Jewry. Concerning Hitler and these issues Craig states, "Hitler's thinking had already gone beyond Heydrich's solution. On 21 January Hitler spoke…We are going to destroy the Jews…the day of reckoning has come."[23] He then notes that Hitler's speeches further cemented the destructive idea of putting an end to European Jewry:

In a speech marking the seventh anniversary of his accession to power, he told the Reichstag that, if international Jewry once more plunged the world into war, then the consequence will not be the Bolshevization of the world and a resultant victory for the Jews, but on the contrary, the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.[24]

According to Craig, the order for the final solution was given on July 1941. Craig also discusses the Wannsee Conference where top German officials agreed that extermination would be the answer to the Jewish question. "That the objective was mass murder was obscured in the clotted bureaucratic style that characterized all National Socialist directives."[25] In addition, in his previous book Craig had only mentioned the name of Auschwitz but did not state the purpose of the concentration camps. In Germany however, he mentions their purpose and gives the names of other extermination centers:

Hitler's euthanasia program had provided opportunities for testing lethal gases, the most effective appeared to be Zyklon B; and after some experiments in Auschwitz, in September 1941, gassing facilities were installed in Chelmno and Belzec. The first half of 1942 saw the construction of new death camp at Sobibor and the transformation of the labour concentration camps at Majdanek and Treblinka into centers of extermination.[26]

Craig asserts that the extermination of the Jews is the most dreadful chapter in German history. Furthermore he concludes a section by stating that bureaucratic mass murder of European Jewry is unequalled in Europe's history. This paper was published on the UCSB Hist 133p website. The fact that he refers to it as a holocaust shows the forward progression in which scholars were writing about the events that compose the Holocaust:

Almost 6 million people died in the camps, most of them Jews, but thousands of non-Jews were murdered as well, including almost all of the gypsies in Europe; and uncounted numbers died in transit to the ovens. When the war ended, there were only a million Jews left in Europe west of the Russian border. This was a holocaust unequalled in European history.[27]

Readers can therefore see the progression of thought concerning the Holocaust within Craig's books, from the fragmented earlier books to the introduction to Hannah Vogt book, and then his own book in 1978, which finally gives a holistic view of the Holocaust. Another way in which Craig's book shows the progression of the Holocaust in textbooks is that he refers to the bureaucratic murder of six million Jews as the Holocaust. Late in the 1960s, and definitely by the 1970s, the Jewish persecution during World War II began to be defined as the Holocaust, as Craig shows in the previous quote, which states that it was a "holocaust unequalled in European history."

Rene Albrecht-Carrie, Europe since Napoleon, 1962 (back to top)

From the series of books that I analyzed, Rene Albrecht-Carrie's Europe since Napoleon, published in 1962, was the first to inscribe a sense of the death toll of Jews during World War II. Albrecht-Carrie makes a reference to how the Jews were seen as inferior and believed by the Nazis to be only suitable for extermination. When discussing Nazi racial theory Albrecht-Carrie notes that the consequences of the racial policies believed by the Nazis were the death of millions:

Shamelessly abusing a pseudo-scientific foundation, a minutely elaborate classification was established…Last of all were the Jews, pure poison, fit only for elimination. These weird fantasies would ordinarily not be worthy of mention were it not for the fact that they became in actual practice the bases of the policy of what had by general consent been regarded as a great civilized nation. The price was some millions of lives.[28]

Although there is no explicit mention of the number of deaths or the methods, no other book from the ones analyzed had mentioned the millions of deaths that occurred under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The number of deaths and methods would be discussed in subsequent books in the 1960s. Books from 1964 are the ones that differ completely from previous books. More detail is provided along with factual evidence. A clear picture of the Holocaust begins to take shape in 1964.

Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt, 1964 (back to top)

Following the directness with which authors were beginning to write in the 1960s one of the most extensive books covering the Holocaust was published in 1964. It was written by Hannah Vogt and titled The Burden of Guilt. According to the introduction, written by Gordon A. Craig, the book was written in response to anti-Semitic incidents in 1959. The Hessen Landtag demanded changes in the way in which history was taught after these incidents. Hannah Vogt was approached with a request to write the book. The book contains one chapter titled "The Fate of Our Jewish Fellow-Citizens," which incorporates in appropriate detail most of what previous books failed to include. As Kolinsky states:

Of particular relevance is the section "The Fate of Our Jewish Fellow-Citizens." Within the scope of twenty-two pages the author provides a useful resumé of Jewish history, an intelligent discussion of anti-Semitism and the policies of the Third Reich, and powerfully evokes the moral problems of the Holocaust.[29]  

Setting the book apart from the others is the detail with which Vogt writes about new topics such as the ghettos and the Wannsee conference, and the fact that she includes pictures that illustrate the text and depict the atrocities of the Holocaust. The book includes pictures of S.A. troops boycotting a Jewish store, the burning of a synagogue in November 1938, a picture of inmates at Wobbelin concentration camp, and a picture of corpses at Bergen-Belsen. Vogt includes more detail when discussing Jewish rights being taken away, the exclusion from society and other major events like Kristallnacht. For the first time the ghettos are mentioned, and the atrocities committed are also described in the book. Vogt also writes about the concentration camps and the "final solution." With regard to the Jewish question, terms such as 'mass extermination' permeate the book.

Vogt attempts to explain how the Jews were made second-rate citizens by discussing policies that go from 1933 till the introduction of the Star of David in 1941. In 1933, she notes, Jewish shops were boycotted in Germany as a result of the growing anti-Semitism. In 1935 the Nuremburg Laws, based on Nazi racial doctrine were passed, and in 1938 it was obligatory for Jews to add the name of Israel or Sara:

On March 28, 1933, the Nazi party bosses organized a boycott of Jewish stores. Uniformed S.A. men daubed Jewish stars on the shop windows of Jewish stores, and picketed them with outsized signs demanding: "Don't buy from Jews!"….Hitler did not dare take the next large step until the Reich Party Congress in Nuremburg in 1935, when the Nuremburg Laws reduced Jews to the category of second-class citizens. Marriages and extra-marital relations between Jews and "citizens of German blood" were forbidden.[30]

Kristallnacht is another event that is explained in more detail and accorded its historical significance. Unlike other books that only mention a violent attack without noteworthy detail, Vogt gives a synopsis of the results of Kristallnacht that places this eventful night into perspective:

A string of similar anti-Semitic decrees followed upon the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, a councilor at the German legation in Paris, by Hershel Grynszpan, a Polish Jew, on November 9, 1938. It started with the burning down of synagogues in Germany by S.A. troops, acting under orders. Altogether 267 synagogues went up in flames that night; in addition, 815 stores were destroyed, 20,000 Jews arrested, and 36 killed… The cue was now provided for the party leaders to put their sick fantasies into practice. By a horrible perversion of justice, the victims, the aggrieved, the despoiled--the Jews--were ordered to 'atone for their crimes' with a fine of one billion marks.[31]

In addition to the expulsion of the Jewish population from German society, Vogt further mentions more polices that were passed against the Jewish population following Kristallnacht. "First came the exclusion of Jews from German economic life, and then Jews were forbidden to engage in business or crafts and could no longer be employed in an executive capacity. The Minister of Education ordered the removal of Jewish pupils from German schools."[32]

Central aspects of the Holocaust that most other books fail to cover are the ghettos and the concentration camps where most Jews along with others died from starvation or as victims of inconceivable brutality.  Most Jews were at first deported to ghettos and then were transferred to concentration camps, where it is estimated that ultimately six million were killed. Some of the larger ghettos were Krakow, Lodz, and Warsaw; these ghettos were located in Poland. The ghettos became another aspect on the road to mass murder and the creation of the Holocaust. According to Vogt, the decree concerning for the deportation of the Jews was given in November of 1941:

Beginning as early as the spring 1940, the S.S. had re-established ghettoes in such Polish cities as Lublin, Lodz, Crakow and Warsaw. The Jews were herded into designated parts of the towns, and the entire area was surrounded with fences and cordoned off with signs which warned: "No trespassing, Jewish quarter…on the pattern of these Polish ghettoes, an entire ghetto-city was established in 1941 in Terezin... Theresienstadt in reality, this camp, like all other camps, was a well-organized hell where man's mind withered under the narrow compulsions of collective life before his body dies of hunger. For many, however, Theresienstadt was only a station on the way to the extermination camps established for the final solution of the Jewish question.[33]

The Burden of Guilt includes paragraphs discussing the extermination camps and the final solution. In addition for the first time books discuss the manner in which the Nazis tried to "solve" the Jewish question. The notorious Wannsee Conference where the decision was announced to exterminate the Jews of Europe is discussed by Vogt. She even provides the minutes of the conference:

The doctrinaires around Himmler decided to "exterminate" the Jews. Nowhere is the bureaucratic make-believe language of the S.S., the language of inhumanity, revealed more horribly than in this document. Following this blueprint, the S.S. began to call its subsequent mass murder "special treatment." Faced with tremendous numbers of absolutely helpless human beings, the executioners of the Third Reich were sized with a frenzy of extermination.[34]

According to Vogt, the attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe took place primarily in the concentration camps. Vogt gives a description on how the Jews were transported to the concentration camps and the selection that took place once there, "The sick, the aged, the weak, and the children were sent to the left at 'selection': their destiny was death."[35] Vogt also mentions the manner in which many Jews were to find their final resting place. She writes about the mass shootings and the gassings at the concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka. No other books from the ones analyzed discussed the concentration camps and the purpose that they served in trying to "solve" the Jewish question under the Third Reich. In one paragraph Vogt gives her readers a clear view on the fate that millions of Jews were to encounter:

At first, "special treatment" consisted in mass shootings. The Jews were dragged out of their ghettoes and ordered to dig ditches in remote places. Next every man, women, child, and aged person had to strip naked… Then five to ten people at a time had to step up together to the edge of the ditch, and were mowed down with a tommy gun. After the mass graves had filled with 500 to 1000 bodies, they were covered with lime and earth. It is reported that Himmler was so nauseated when he witnessed this "method" that he recommended from then on, as a "more humane means," the use of poison gas (to be released in vans or specially constructed chambers camouflaged as shower rooms). Suitable facilities for this form of mass extermination were constructed in the large extermination camps of Auschwitz, Maidanek, and Treblinka. Huge crematoria were built, and the bodies were burned around the clock.[36]

Vogt also states that Jews were forced to operate the 'machinery of death.' The Jews had to remove the piles of bodies from the gas chambers and had to operate the crematoriums. For those who worked the machinery, their only remaining hope was the possibility of survival. What is also interesting is that Vogt includes a chart that has the total percent of Jewish population loss per country, Poland being the country with the highest loss of its Jewish population.

Anthony Wood, Europe 1815-1945, 1964 (back to top)

Hannah Vogt's book shows what scholars are capable of doing when trying to write on a significant event that defines one of the darkest moments in human history. Similar to Burden of Guilt is Anthony Wood's Europe 1815-1945, also published in 1964. Also unlike the earlier books, there is more than a fragment of information. There are paragraphs that cover most of the issues that comprise the Holocaust. In his book Wood, like Vogt, notes the treatment of the Jews throughout the 1930s and how it progressively became worse as Hitler tightened his grasp on power within the German state:

The fate of the Jews was still worse. In 1933 they were excluded from holding public office and from the professions of journalism, teaching, and the civil service… and in 1938 from law and medicine. The Nuremburg laws of 1935 deprived them of German citizenship, forbade Jewish-Aryan marriages, and prohibited any Jew from employing female Aryan servants under the age of thirty-five.[37]

Furthermore, Wood in numerous instances states that the result of Nazi hatred consequently was the death of millions of European Jews. Arguing that Hitler was not able to unleash his full hatred while international opinion still had some significance, Wood notes that the laws affecting the Jews were a premonition to the extermination of the Jews. "Naturally, while international opinion had still to be considered, Hitler could not yet give full rein to his hatred which, during the Second World War, was to lead to the mass extermination of some five million European Jews."[38] Comparable to Vogt, Wood also writes about the concentration camps, his book includes more than merely the name of a camp as did the books from the fifties. The process by which the Jews were killed is described by Wood as a "highly methodical organization" with "bureaucratic thoroughness." In Wood's book the Jewish genocide assumes the bureaucratization of murder that most now associate with the Holocaust:

The most iniquitous aspect of Hitler's rule was, of course, the concentration camps to which Jews, political prisoners, and resistance fighters were sent to be worked to death or used as medical experiments. There was also a particular category of extermination camp—as at Auschwitz in Poland or Mauthausen in Austria—where a highly methodical organization accounted for the death of about five million Jews, principally in gas chambers—not the hot-blooded excitement of a local pogrom, but a cold efficient plan devised with bureaucratic thoroughness to kill every Jew in Europe.[39]

Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, 1968 (back to top)

Wood's book does not contain pictures. However, he does more than previous authors when discussing the events of World War II pertaining to the fate of European Jewry. A book that uses photographs and gives an in depth analysis of the Holocaust is The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, published in 1968. The book is a compilation of many essays written by various authors. The most relevant chapter for this research was written by Judah Pilch and titled "Years of Holocaust: The Factual Story." For the first time in the books I examined the Jewish genocide is referred to as the Holocaust. Pilch writes on the organization of society, ghettos, expulsion and deportation, concentration camps and the Final Solution. Pictures are used in each section throughout the book.  Pilch has large sections concerning each stage of Jewish persecution. When addressing how the Jewish community lost its rights throughout the 1930s, Pilch concludes by stating:

The extent of "legal" persecution of Jews can be gauged from the fact that during the years 1933-1939, over 250 laws, ordinances, regulations, orders and other enactments, mostly public, but some also for private use of the authorities, were promulgated to deprive the Jews of every political, civic, and economic right. Nazi actions against the Jews were all legal.[40]

Within the books analyzed, the pogrom of 1938 is for the first time referred to as Kristallnacht. Also more of the background story of this eventful night is added. Pilch states that Polish Jews residing in Germany were herded and transported to the Polish border after the Polish government had invalidated the passports of Polish nationals abroad. A month after the October 28, 1938, [what happened then? Is this the correct date?] following the assassination of a German official, the Nazis unleashed a devastating pogrom against the Jewish population:

…on November 9, 1938, following the assassination in Paris of the Nazi official Ernst von Rath by Hershel Grynszpan, a Jewish youth, whose parents were expelled on October 28, together with other Polish Jews, the Nazis unleashed their first pogrom…Hundreds of synagogues went up in flames, Jewish houses were raided, tens of thousands of persons were arrested and consigned to concentration camps, thousands of shops were looted, wrecked, or put to the torch. The nocturnal terror was followed by yet another punishment, when the government imposed on the Jews a collective fine of a billion marks.[41]

Another author who notes that Jews were murdered during the night of October 28 is Thomas P. Neill in his book Modern Europe a Popular History, published in 1970: [this is rather sudden here. You mention him again briefly below, but he should really get his own section before the conclusion. Do you have time for that?]

The persecution of the Jews was especially ruthless after such incidents as the assassination of a German by a Polish Jews in 1938, when the Jews were fined a billion marks, thousands of them were murdered, and they denied access to schools, the movies, and public life.[42]

The next step taken by the Nazis was the deportation of Jewish communities to the East to be placed in ghettos. Pilch states that ghettos were primarily in the East. The ghettos were plagued by rampant starvation and disease. "A refugee who had passed through Lublin described the plight of thousands of Jews, lying in the streets, falling victims to death by starvations and pestilence."[43] The Jews in the ghettos were at the mercy of the S.S, officers. In the ghettos there were mass shootings, arrests and further deportations that ultimately led to the concentration camps. The ghettos were to serve as a phase in the implementation of the final solution to the Jewish question. The Jewish question was to find its answer according to the Nazis in the extermination of European Jewry in concentration camps.

Upon arrival the Jews and other prisoners were selected, the selection was usually done by a doctor. Those who were told to go to the left were the old, weak, mentally ill or mothers with children younger than fourteen. They destination was death at the gas chambers. The able bodied were spared at selection only to face an insecure future surrounded by inhumane brutality:

New camps were established in the east (Auschwitz, Belsec, Treblinka, and Wolzek) which became extermination centers where millions of inmates perished. Inmates were starved, tortured, and even used as guinea pigs for Nazi 'medical research.' They were subjected to the vilest debasement and met death in ways that few minds can grasp.[44]

The 'final solution' was decided at the Wannsee conference in 1941. Top Nazi officials decided that the answer to the Jewish question would be complete annihilation of the Jews. This was to be implemented by using numerous methods that included mass shootings and gassings. The notorious camp, which has become synonymous with the Holocaust, was Auschwitz. According to Pilch it was distinguished for achieving the greatest efficiency in exterminating the inmates:  

After January 20, 1942, when the means for the "final solution" were decided upon, the major concentrations camps became annihilation camps. Chief among them Auschwitz, which was distinguished for achieving the greatest efficiency in the process of extermination of men, women and children. It boasted of a record of 6,000 people put to death per day. It was in these camps that the 'medical experiments' were conducted.[45]

Similarly, Thomas Neill affirms that the death of six million Jews was achieved systematically: "Even worse, from a psychological and sadistic point, was the systematic extermination of about six million Jews and many others in the Nazi concentration camps."[46] When writing on Auschwitz, Pilch also provides an account by Rudolf Hoess. Hoess discusses the certain modifications that were done to Auschwitz to improve its killing capacity; one was the usage of Zyklon B gas for the exterminations He goes on to explain the inner workings of the camp. After Hoess there are several pages with statistical information and a picture of a map with the number of Jews killed per country. Pilch is also one of the first authors to mention the other groups that were persecuted by the Nazi Third Reich. He states that political prisoners, gypsies, asocial people and homosexuals were also groups that were persecuted and sent to concentration camps. Pilch, similar to Hannah Vogt, also includes a balance sheet with the total number of Jewish casualties after the war. The fact that the book gives a more significant account of the Holocaust with the aid of a plethora of pictures illustrating the events shows the progression of Holocaust importance in textbooks. Judah Pilch's book is also the first book in which the word "Holocaust" appears. Pilch has a chapter titled "Years of the Holocaust," and throughout the book he keeps referring to the Holocaust. The death of millions during the Nazi Third Reich was now being referred to as the Holocaust for the first time in the late 1960s.

Conclusion (back to top)

History is nothing more than relics and memories. If these memories are not discussed they are forgotten and effaced by the ever changing tide of the present day. History allows us to view the present as being shaped by past experiences. The past helps define the present and the future. Therefore within the sphere of academia one must always strive for a conscious effort to write a well rounded perspective of history, which includes significant events that characterize a phase of a decade. Dawidowicz stated in her book The Holocaust and the Historians:

When historians knowingly or unknowingly omit from their historical writing an account of any given course of events, those events disappear from history. For if they are not recorded in history, the events of the past vanish into memorylessness, irretrievably lost to the present and the future.[47]

This quotation is particularly important when discussing the textbooks from the fifties which omit accounts of events from their pages. However, the Holocaust will not be an event that will vanish into 'memorylessness.' As I hope that this research has shown, authors of textbooks in the 1960s, more specifically after 1964, begin to present the Holocaust in its proper place in history. In the present day, much like Judah Pilch's book, there are textbooks solely devoted to the Holocaust.

Notes (back to top)

[1] Lucy S. Dawidowicz. The Holocaust and the Historians. (Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, 1981) p. 1.

[2] Eva Kolinsky, "**," in Yad Vashem Studies on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance vol. X (Yad Vashem Jerusalem, 1974) p. 185

[3] Yad Vashem Studies, on the European Jewish Catastrophe, p. 23

[4] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London, Longmans, Green and Co, 1952). p. 492

[5] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, p. 495

[6] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, 1952, p. 495

[7] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, 1952, p. 495

[8] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, 1952, p. 496

[9] A. J. Grant and Harold Tempereley, 1952, p. 496

[10] Robert Ergang, Europe since Waterloo (Boston, Heath and Company, 1954) p. 540

[11] David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon (New York, Alfred and Knopf, 1957) p. 555

[12] David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon, 1957, p. 660

[13] David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon, 1957, p. 687

[14] David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon 2nd ed. (New York, Alfred A Knopf, 1962) p. 688

[15] David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon 2nd ed, 1962, p. 709

[16] David Thomson, 1962, p. 681

[17] David Thomson, 1962, p. 688

[18] Yad Vashem Studies, on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance vol. X (Yad Vashem  Jerusalem, 1974) p. 186

[19] Gordon A. Craig, Europe Since 1815 (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961) p. 382

[20] Gordon A. Craig, Europe Since 1815, 1961, p. 742

[21] Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt (New York, Oxford University Press, 1964) p. xii

[22] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1978) p. 631

[23] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945, 1978, p. 637

[24] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945, 1978, p. 637

[25] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945, 1978, p. 748

[26] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945, 1978, p. 749

[27] Gordon A. Craig, Germany 1866-1945, 1978, p. 750

[28] Rene Albrecht-Carrie, Europe since 1815: From the Ancien Regime to the Atomic Age (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1962) p. 404

[29] Yad Vashem Studies (Jerusalem, 1974) p. 196

[30] Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt (New York, Oxford University Press, 1964) p. 223

[31] Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt, 1964, p. 225

[32] Hannah Vogt, The Burden of Guilt, 1964, p. 225

[33] Hannah Vogt, 1964, p. 228

[34] Hannah Vogt, 1964, p. 229

[35] Hannah Vogt, 1964, p. 232

[36] Hannah Vogt, 1964, p. 230

[37] Anthony Wood, Europe 1866-1945 (New York, David McKay Co., 1964) p. 431

[38] Anthony Wood, Europe 1866-1945, 1964, p. 432

[39] Anthony Wood, 1964, p. 465

[40] Judah Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe (The American Association for Jewish Education, 1968) p. 53

[41] Judah Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, 1968, p. 52

[42] Thomas P. Neill, Modern Europe: A Popular History (New York, Doubleday & Company, 1970) p. 200

[43] Judah Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, 1968, p. 55

[44] Judah Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, 1968, p. 66

[45] Judah Pilch, The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, 1968, p. 68

[46] Thomas P. Neill, Modern Europe a Popular History, 1970, p. 254

[47] Lucy Dawidowicz, The Holocaust and the Historians, 1981, p. 1

paper completed June 2004; prepared for web publication on 3/28/05 by H. Marcuse
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